Jenn Nester’s CINQ388 Week 4 Blog

Jenn Nester’s CINQ388 Week 4 Blog Prompts


  1. Based on your life experience, skills, and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?


After teaching in the public schools for the last two decades, my design process would be to personalize the learning experience as much as possible. For the more traditional learner, I have found the ADDIE design most effective: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. However, the iVR environment we are looking to launch will probably be more effective using a Spiral Design. This iterative design has such benefits as: 1) estimates (i.e. budget, schedule, etc.) become more realistic as work progresses, because important issues are discovered earlier and 2) the model is designed to cope with the inevitable changes to the learning experience that will happen over the course of design and delivery.


  1. Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them.
      1. Nature Centers
        1. Run by volunteers/ nature enthusiasts/Wildlife activists
        2. Non-profit/ donations
        3. Interested in educating local community members
        4. Community partnerships with local colleges/universities
        5. Programs for pre-K through continuing education
      2. Public libraries
        1. Educational programs designed and delivered by professional librarians
        2. Organized to serve local communities
        3. Funded with local taxes
        4. Programs geared toward school-age children
        5. Trained to use/learn about new technology
      3. People who are playing the iVR game
        1. Nontraditional students
        2. Participants by choice
        3. Varied interests
        4. Some individuals might have hours of experience with iVR and some may be using it for the first time
        5. As the ages of the individuals vary, so will their knowledge and concern with the environment.


  1. Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.
        1. Focus groups will provide feedback on the usability of the Oculus Go.
        2. Surveys will provide feedback to validate the efficacy of the technology.
        3. Assessments will be given at the conclusion of the experience to validate the success of the program to educate the public

Jenn Nester’s weekly post #3

Jenn Nester–Lehigh River iVR experience

  1. Top questions to answer
  • How can we impact the local community?
  • What is the problem with the social justice system in the US?
  • How can higher education impact low income communities?
  • Have you ever used/experienced immersive Virtual Reality (iVR) before?
  • How can iVR impact learning in the Lehigh Valley?
  • How can iVR affect learning for disengaged students?
  • What causes mass incarceration in the US?
  • How do you maximize the reach of local projects?
  • How does social media/other online sub-cultures affect a student’s point of view about higher education?
  • Do you have a social media account?
  • In what other ways can iVR be used to change methods of education?
  • How does cultural diversity affect our community?
  • How difficult might it be to implement iVR in a public school?
  • How can university students make a difference in the local community?
  • To what extent can video gaming practices help/hinder the Lehigh River iVR project development?
  • What specific social values/customs might prevent a low-income student from pursuing a higher education?
  • What is the relationship between the living conditions and the rate of incarceration?
  • Do you have any people around you who are/were in prison?    
  1. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture. 
  • Stakeholders include:
    • Researchers
    • Lehigh Gap nature center
    • Nature/Nurture center in Easton
    • Jacobsburg Nature center
    • D&L historical museum
    • 5 public libraries
  • Inputs
    • Personal funding/grant money
    • Time
    • Expertise (iVR development)
    • Project management
  • Outputs
    • Social outreach
    • Democratization of technology/integrated curricula (science, social studies, environmental science)
    • Software development
    • Educational technology continuing education
  • Outcomes
    • Change in formal educational curriculum development and delivery systems.
    • Raise awareness about Lehigh River watershed
  • Impacts
    • Better local water conservation
    • Decrease in levels of pollution
    • More local involvement 
  1. Develop a M&E plan for your venture. – Clearly list all assumptions. – Identify short-term and long-term success metrics.
  • The initial launch of this iVR program focused on at-risk, alternative high school juniors and focus groups indicated increased engagement and flow with the immersive virtual reality. The age groups targeted with this launch will be more diverse so it will be important to assess engagement and understand often.
  • While there are assessments embedded in our iVR game, interviews and focus groups to discuss individual experiences will be helpful in understanding user point of view.
  •  Multi-interviewer focus groups should help to ensure accountability and data validity.

JennNester’s WeeklyBlog#2

1. Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project.

While the immersive virtual reality game is a local exploration, the students for whom it was developed, for the most part, had a very small view of the area around them. Building 21 is an alternative school that focuses on project-based education. The students in Building 21 are considered at-risk of dropping out of school. Even with the technology at their disposal, most of them had smart phones, they had no real experiences farther than the Lehigh Valley mall. Many of them were not aware that there were mountains less than 15 miles away and none of them knew that the Lehigh Valley is a valley because of the mountains to the north and south. Several of them had heard of South Mountain without realizing that it is a real mountain.
2. Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe at least three such situations.

I spent 12 years teaching in an alternative secondary school in northern New Jersey and those students were also at-risk of dropping out of school. The demographics of the alternative schools was similar: 1) students got free/reduced price lunch, 2)  more males than females, and  3) more minorities than not. The population of Building 21 is not significantly different from the traditional high schools, but the population of the New Jersey alternative high school was. Both schools catered to disengaged students for whom the traditional school was not a good match. I didn’t get to spend as much time in Building 21, but the students with whom I interacted seemed to find great benefit in the alternative school.

3. Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to addressed community / market problems.

Children are at-risk of dropping out of school for any number of reasons, but alternative education seems to be the best option for those students. Smaller class sizes, project-based curriculum and technology integration are some of the commonalities with many alternative schools. When schools are successful in educating children, the community benefits. Bringing local businesses into the fold might be a good way to show the community the good that is being done in these alternative learning environments.

Weekly Post #1

 My name is Jenn Nester and I am a grad student in the College of Education. I got my first masters in Special Education from Lehigh almost 20 years ago and spent more than a decade modifying and adapting English curriculum for at-risk high school students in an alternative secondary school in New Jersey. For the next six years, I taught British Literature in a traditional high school and hit roadblock after roadblock trying to adapt the curriculum to fit student needs. I came back to Lehigh to study how technology might help all teachers adapt and modify curriculum for all students.

I have been working on the watershed project for the last several months, a project that is focused on designing, developing, testing, and implementing an immersive virtual reality (iVR) project for STEM education to promote engagement and learning about spatial watershed features and environmental issues in the Lehigh River watershed. My involvement in a project that seeks to advance a novel approach using iVR learning with place-based learning and game design principles has contributed tremendously to my research. I enrolled in this course to transition from the Master’s portion of of Instructional Technology to the doc program with my research into using immersive virtual reality games that simulate real-life situations as an alternative to traditional standardized tests. I envision this course will make me a better Instructional Technology student in that I will have the opportunity to create and test virtual reality experiences and games as part of the project. I also look forward to publishing papers that support the idea that virtual reality can do what multiple choice tests only try to do, assess a students’ knowledge in context. 

 “The World Health Organization estimates that over one billion people who need eyeglasses do not have access to them. The vast majority of these people live in developing countries like Kenya where there is barely one optometrist per one million people. Given the high poverty levels, access to eyeglasses is almost nonexistent. Lack of proper eyeglasses severely impacts people and their livelihoods by decreasing their productivity at work, limiting or eliminating new opportunities, affecting their quality of life, deteriorating their general health and possibly leading to (preventable) blindness.” If my task is to solve this problem, I can’t help but put my focus on technology. While I take both my children to an optometrist yearly, I can see how technology can replace her. There is an app that you can use that will measure your PD (pupillary distance), an important number when making/getting glasses. My boys’ optometrist isn’t responsible for getting their PD (even though they both wear glasses), that is a job for the optician.  The optician’s job can be done by an app, why not the optometrist’s? In fact, digital imaging technology already assists the high-paid optometrist in diagnosing vision problems. With research, this technology has the potential of becoming mobile. Having spent hours in Oculus headsets, playing games and solving problems, it occurs to me that this very technology might be the answer. Newer versions of virtual reality(VR) sets are equipped to collect data on player responses by looking at where the eye is directed. A mobile app could be developed for VR that uses the same kind of data collection to diagnose vision problems. There can be an app for anything, but deploying it in an area such as Kenya presents a whole different set of obstacles than deploying it in America. The deployment of such a technology would be a perfect project for Global Impact fellows as the obstacles faced may be similar to those faced in Sierra Leone, but diagnosing vision problems is the first hurdle. Once my son’s myopia was diagnosed, it cost us more than $400 for his first pair of glasses. He was five. Five-year-olds are tough on everything, glasses were not the exception. He went through three more pairs, including an “indestructible” pair that lasted until his prescription changed. Not a workable model for the one billion people in need in Kenya. There are places on the internet where you can get prescription eyeglasses for as little as $7 which is certainly a better option. In addition, donation centers could set up areas likely to have access to glasses people no longer use might be a good way to get necessary stock. Google has been making VR goggles out of cardboard and while cardboard glasses might not be the most durable. Using the mobile diagnostic app, it would be possible to make glasses in bulk to lower the cost.